Programs

Pushing the Limits: Writing Experimental Fiction for YA and Middle Grade Readers 2020

October 29 - November 1, 2020

Join Us To:

Acquire the confidence and craft knowledge to take your novel from brilliant idea to completed draft, whether it’s a novel in verse, genre hybrid, or story that starts at the end. Pop open the hoods of acclaimed experimental YA and middle grade novels to see what makes them run. Through lectures, group discussions, and one-on-one sessions, learn from accomplished faculty who’ve successfully navigated their own unconventional paths.

What You’ll Learn:

Join us to get answers to these questions and more:

  • What makes a novel experimental?
  • How do you insure that traditional craft elements such as plot, character, and pacing are fully developed in a nontraditional work?
  • How can you play with form so it’s not just a gimmick but an integral part of your story?
  • How do you pitch an out-of-the-box manuscript to agents and editors?

Note: to get the most benefit from the workshop, please submit a synopsis and first chapter of your manuscript before arriving.

Attend If:

  • You have a concept for a YA or middle-grade novel that’s a little–or a lot–“out there.” Bring it here! We’ll give you the freedom to explore your idea in an environment where no one will look at you funny or say, “Why would you want to do THAT?”
  • Your experimental work-in-progress doesn’t seem to be progressing. Group problem-solving sessions and individual meetings with faculty will get those wheels rolling again.
  • You want to learn how to present your unconventional manuscript to the market. Agents and editors get tired of seeing the same old thing in their inboxes. Your book might be just what they are looking for, but how to convince them? We’ll show you.
  • You have a novel you’ve always wanted to write, but don’t dare. We totally get it. We’ve been there. We want to help you work through the fear.

Agenda

Day 1
Afternoon
Arrival and check in

Evening
Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: bring your favorite experimental novel to share with the group!

Day 2
Morning
Breakfast
Group workshop: introductions and brainstorming your experimental novels-in-progress.

Afternoon
Lunch
One-to-one faculty consultations
Free writing or revision time
Special guest presentation: Kekla Magoon will discuss how she approaches her own unique novels.

Evening
Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: night owls can join faculty member Phoebe North in telling a story in a novel form by playing the indie tabletop game Dialect.

Day 3
Morning
Breakfast
Group activity

Afternoon
Lunch
One-to-one faculty consultations
Free writing or revision time
Break-out problem solving groups to tackle common manuscript blocks with our assistant, middle grade writer Alysa Wishingrad
Guest author Megan Atwood will lead writing exercise that will help you get over those lingering hurdles in your novel

Evening
Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: join us for an optional viewing of the movie Adaptation.

Day 4
Morning
Breakfast
Wrap-up session to discuss next steps and moving forward on your experimental work.

Afternoon
Lunch & farewells

A Note About Highlights Workshop Agendas

Testimonials

“I’ve been to many conferences and workshops and I teach a workshop every summer but coming to a Highlights workshop has been on my bucket list for years. It even exceeded my high expectations. Hard to put into words but the whole experience was magical. Being in a nurturing bubble, totally immersed in writing was amazing. No newspapers, no TV, no laundry to do or meals to cook, just writing. And learning from amazing mentors. And talking about writing. And writing some more… Bliss.”

Scholarships Available

Three scholarships are available for this workshop:
Full tuition
Half tuition
Partial tuition
Application deadline is August 10, 2020. Scholarships will be announced September 9, 2020.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.

Faculty

Christine Heppermann

Christine Heppermann is the author of the YA poetry collection Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty and the novel-in-verse…
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Phoebe North

Phoebe North, a graduate of the University of Florida’s MFA program in poetry, is the critically acclaimed author of Starglass…
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Kekla Magoon

Special Guest Kekla Magoon is the award-winning author of eight young adult novels, including The Rock and the River, How It Went…
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Megan Atwood

Special Guest Megan Atwood is the author of more than fifty books for children and young adults. She founded the…
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Alysa Wishingrad

Teaching Assistant Alysa was 7 years old when she wrote her first story: The Adventures of Kinney and Korney, an…
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All-Inclusive Event Cost: $1,099.00

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Free shuttle service is available from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AVP) International Airport. Airport pick-up at Newark Airport is also available for $75 round-trip.

We offer payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

workshop information

Begins Thursday, October 29 with dinner and ends Saturday, November 1, with lunch.

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